Udawattakelle Sanctuary, Kandy - Timings, Safari Cost, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Kandy Railway Station): 3.5 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1-2 Hours

Place Location: Behind The Temple Of The Tooth Relic

Transportation Options: + Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 1.5 km from the Temple of Tooth Relic and 3.5 km from Kandy Railway Station, Udawatta Kele Sanctuary or the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is situated on the hillside behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is one of the popular places to visit in Kandy.

Lying in the heart of the busy city of Kandy, Udawattakele Forest Reserve extends about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much-populated city of Kandy. During the days of the Kandyan kingdom, Udawattakele was known as 'Uda Wasala Watta' in Sinhalese meaning 'the garden above the royal palace', frequented by the royalty and was out of bound to the people. Since the downfall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, this forest area started to deteriorate due to human activities and was designated as a forest reserve in 1856. Later it became a sanctuary under British rule in 1938, and numerous pathways were created leading through the forest and were given names such as Lady Horton Drive, Lady Torrington's Road and Gregory Path, after Governors or their wives.

The sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna. It is home to over 400 species of plants, 80 species of birds and 32 diverse species of butterflies and various mammals. The forest is also popular with foreign tourists, especially bird watchers. While on a walking trip to the sanctuary one would able to see the bird species like Layard's parakeet, Yellow-fronted Barbet, brown-capped babbler, blue-winged leaf bird, Alexandrine parakeet, forest eagle owl, paradise flycatcher, etc. This precious forest area supplies the much-needed air purification activity to the Kandy city which is enclosed by several hills.

The sanctuary can be explored on foot only. The mist covering the hills and the slight nip in the air will make the trek around the forest even more enjoyable. The short Lovers' Walk to Lady McCarthy's drive, Lady Torrington's Road, or Lady Gordon's Road makes for a visual delight. The trek is spotted with intriguing sights, like the highest peak- Kodimale, the water pond, the Garrison Cemetery, and the Senkanda Cave. The forest reserve also houses numerous Buddhist hermitages and monasteries.

The visitors' entrance is on the western side of the forest, about 15-20 minutes' walk from the Temple of the Tooth. The entrance is on the right side of the Tapovanaya Monastery. There is parking space for cars and vans near the entrance and a refreshment stall. Unmarried couples are not allowed to enter the forest. Beware of leeches as they are lurking along paths during the rainy season.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM

Entry: LKR. 30 for Locals & LKR. 570 for Foreigners